Isn’t it a relief to know that 2020 will soon be over? But before we turn the page on a year that has been full of unprecedented challenges and concerns, we have to get through that all-important year-end Giving Season.
Have no fear… you’re not alone! As you prepare for these last two months, your BDI Strategists are here with their best tips for not just surviving, but thriving during this 4th Quarter…
David Stolberg’s Tip – Get your new donors thanked & in your database.
All my clients know how much I preach about the importance of thanking donors for their gift. During this busy acquisition season, it’s so important to make sure new donor information is recorded accurately so that you can not only thank them in a timely manner, but begin to cultivate them to get that super-critical second gift. The sooner you obtain a second gift, the higher the LTV (lifetime value) and retention rate of a new donor. We all spend a lot of time and effort going after new donors… the last thing we want is for them to have an excuse not to give again just because we didn’t thank them!
Mindy Sherfy’s Tip – Remind your donors of their impact.
As the year draws to a close, many nonprofits have a tendency to put the focus on December 31. While it is important to include a sense of urgency, I think your donors give to your ministry because they believe in what you do 365 days a year. Your staff and volunteers nourish bodies and souls in Jesus’ name – and your supporters want to be part of that. Remember to keep your donors and the impact they make front and center of your year-end giving strategy.
Rhonda Moore’s Tip – Thank your donors lightning fast.
During this time of year, I’m always excited to hear that my clients are up to their ears in donation responses! Even though the stress level can get pretty high and it’s easy to fall behind in processing all these gifts, it’s so important to get your thank you receipts out fast – like lightning fast. Make it a goal to send out receipts within 48 hours. A study we did at BDI found a direct correlation between the amount of time to send a receipt and the donor LTV (lifetime value). Shorter receipting time = higher donor value.
The fall also offers a great opportunity to show some extra love to donors with a “just because” affirmation call in a season filled with messages of thanksgiving and goodwill. No need to wait until they give a gift to thank them! Search your database for donors who gave in 2019 but have not yet given in 2020. This is a wonderful time of year to implement a lapse-prevention strategy. Call these folks to thank them for their past support and share how much they are appreciated at the Mission.
Matthew Rayburn’s Tip – Review your major donors’ giving histories.
One thing I recommend in Q4 is to review your major donors’ giving histories with an eye towards donors who could benefit from a year-end, touch-base conversation. Your donors have busy lives and are being approached by many organizations – especially during this time of year. A quick phone call or personal note is a great way to cement donor loyalty by strengthening that relationship and giving them a timely, personal reason to maximize their giving as the year ends.
Micah Mann’s Tip – Strategize how to leverage exceptional donor gifts.
Make sure you have a year-end strategy in place for leveraging exceptional gifts after an exceptional year. For donors that itemize their taxes – think Major Donors – the CARES Act lifted the 60% of adjusted gross income (AGI) limit for cash donations made in 2020 (although there’s still a 100% of AGI limit on all charitable contributions). This means your Major Donors should be able to deduct more of their giving in 2020 – making year-end gifts more valuable than ever this year.
Julie Larocco’s Tip – Take an offsite break with your team.
I remember how overwhelming the Giving Season (September-December) can be from my past experience as a Development Director. Though it seems counterintuitive, one of the best ways I learned to regenerate and reenergize was to take my team offsite. We would set aside an entire day to plan for the coming year. Our mini-retreat began in a private room at a local coffee shop where we prayed together and did a SWOT analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity & Threat) of the current year.
After breaking for lunch at a fun restaurant, we followed up with three hours of brainstorming, strategizing and creating our calendar for the next year. We always finished the day happily exhausted… feeling proud of our accomplishments and ready to tackle the rest of the holiday season!
We hope this advice from your BDI Strategists inspires and excites you and your team during the Giving Season. Taking these tips to heart will help you have a happier, healthier holiday season and give you new hope as you transition into 2021. We’re here as you walk this last part of the path… and we’re rooting for you all the way!
Want more? For this month’s “Need to Read” from MT on Freaky Fast Gratitude Lessons from Jimmy John’s, click here.